On Paper: The Mavs and the New Pieces of Their Puzzle
Getting that elusive championship even just once is good enough for any franchise in the NBA.
The Dallas Mavericks beg to disagree
As of this writing, I am watching an NBA TV interview with Vince Carter, who’s already wearing jersey no. 25 for the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. A couple of days back, we saw Lamar Odom donning the Mavericks’ uniform as well. All these movements tell you that the Mavs are not stopping at just one championship banner being holstered up their rafters. They want one more.
And if not them, for sure Mark Cuban wants one more.
While some see these movements as the Dallas owner’s uncanny way of clearing enough cap space for next year’s free agency, acquiring Carter and Odom, two veterans who’ve done their fair share in lifting their previous teams to higher levels of playing, was also a smart move as far as keeping their championship repeat hopes alive. Losing Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea was something that seemed inevitable, thus the imperative of plugging the holes they have left. For the Dallas squad to maneuver their way through the free agency traffic, landing these two players into their team, is something to give careful consideration, especially for those teams who are sketching their own paths to snatching the crown away from the Mavs.
And do not, even for a single second, be tempted to check Carter’s or Odom’s age. They maybe thirtysomethings, but they’ll just fit well into the system that Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has set up in the last four seasons. Just look at the reunion of Jason Kidd and Carter, whose duo was one among many highlighted tandems, especially during their run with the Nets. Kidd, after three trips to the Finals, finally got his championship last year. Hopefully, him getting together with VC will give Air Canada his first championship as well.
As for Odom, remember he’s the reigning sixth man. To have him along with Jason Terry as first options off the bench gives Dallas a formidable force. With Barea already out of the circulation, Terry will get more playing minutes in the guard spot, while Odom will most likely be the shooting end of the plays that either of the two Jasons will be setting up. Odom’s got two championship belts under him as well, giving him the experience leverage. If Odom were to teach a basketball class, his subject would be “How To Win Back-to-Back.”
But Vince Carter himself declared the ultimate disclaimer of them all, when he said “on paper, we’re a very capable team. But the ultimate goal is to win it all.” Carter hit the nail on the head. If Dallas wants to win another trophy, they’ll have to maximize whatever remaining days are left for them to gel and get along before tip off on Christmas Day. Everything on paper must be translated on the court when they play ball. If all goes well, you might find Dallas playing in June.
Otherwise, Dallas’ chase for the crown will be nothing more than a drawn play on the whiteboard.